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THE FIRST LINES OF HISTORY - President Donald Trump

Donald J. Trump, the bombastic real estate tycoon and reality TV star who was elected the 45th President of the United States in 2016, became the first President in American history to incite insurrection and resist the peaceful transition of power after losing to Joseph R. Biden, Jr. in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump secured almost 3 million fewer votes than Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign, but became only the fifth U.S. President to be elected with a minority of the popular vote, winning the electoral college vote 304 to 227.

In 2019 Trump became the third U.S. President to be impeached by the House of Representatives. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election documented extensive contact between the Russian Government and members of the Trump campaign team, and also extensive Russian interference in the election through social media and through hacking and the dissemination of hacked materials. Mueller did not recommend prosecution of the President, however, believing such a recommendation to be beyond his purview. Trump was acquitted by a party-line vote in the Senate.

In 2020 Trump lost the popular vote again, this time by over 7 million votes, and lost the electoral college vote to Biden, 306 to 232, thus becoming one of only ten incumbent Presidents to lose a re-election campaign.

Most observers attribute the failure of Trump's re-election campaign to his gross neglect of the COVID-19 pandemic that swept the globe in 2020. Trump routinely dismissed the seriousness of the pandemic in the months leading up to the November 2020 election, and repeatedly undermined the recommendations of public health officials, all this despite that he and a host of high-ranking officials in his own Administration had contracted the novel coronavirus, and despite that by the time of the election it had already caused over 350,000 American deaths.

Observers differ over the source of Trump's fanatic clinging to the Presidency, some attributing it to his fear of being prosecuted for business fraud and tax evasion once removed from the bubble of Presidential immunity, while others asserting a more characterological flaw, akin to narcissistic personality disorder.

Whatever the source of it, Trump's refusal to accept the outcome of the election brought to a head the sharp polarization of the American public that he had fomented throughout his term in office. On January 6, 2021 he instructed a mob of supporters -- one that included many white supremacists and also many adherents to outlandish conspiracy theories -- to storm the U.S. Capitol while Congress attempted to perform the purely ceremonial act of certifying electoral college votes submitted by the states. Under pressure from his inner circle, he offered a half-hearted concession speech on January 7 in which he refused to mention the name of his successor.

Trump's final weeks in office were marked by a spate of resignations of high-ranking Administration officials, and by a nationwide debate over whether he should be removed from office through a second impeachment by Congress or whether members of his own Cabinet should remove him as unfit for office under the terms of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The debate was shrouded in bitterness and acrimony and took place against the backdrop of a poorly administered roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines, a matter which Trump refused to address publicly.

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